Category Archives: Real Estate Web Marketing
Diagnosis: Your email drip campaigns are not effective.
Symptoms: The recipients of your drip email campaigns delete them, or – worse – they ask to be removed from the campaign, causing you a loss of direct contact with your potential clients. You fear you may be losing your potential clients to the competition.
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly
When drip campaigns first came out, I, like everyone else, could see their potential value. If you provide good information, what could be the harm? As a matter of fact, I endorsed the idea.
But now, my initial excitement has dulled a bit, and I am not so sure. “Why is that?” you ask eagerly. Well, I’ll tell you.
One reason is that drip campaigns take up space. I have enough email as it is, and this is just one more thing to clutter up my In Box. So when I see these campaign emails come across my platform, I cannot hit the delete key fast enough.
Second, the information that I receive is, for the most part, uninspired, obvious, and generally less than useful.
Finally – and, I think, most important – I started to feel depersonalized. I was just another address on some auto-generated list. Simply put, drip campaigns went from something good, to something bad, and now I am real ugly about it.
Whose fault is it?
I admit that this is partially my fault. I signed up for these automated emails. I knew they were coming. But after a while I found myself deleting them without reading them, and, inevitably, I asked to be taken off mailing lists.
However, I must also blame the purveyor of these email drips. I had an expectation that the information they were sending me would actually make a difference in my business life. Unfortunately, I was being fed unoriginal ideas that provided me with no innovative insights that I could apply to my life or to my business.
The Problem with Technology
Technology is a great thing. I love it. I love the gadgets, the information, all of it. However, as we more and more frequently use technology as a means of communication, we begin to dehumanize people. One of the reasons we use email is because it allows us to avoid talking to others. Let’s face it: If I can send an email to you without you responding right away, I don’t have to immediately engage with you, which saves me time. It’s easy. It’s convenient.
However, while convenient, communicating by email is not personal. What we have created with a drip campaign is a program that sends a previously-written program to a person on the assumption that that recipient has the same agenda, the same type of mental programming. When it comes to staying in touch with your existing customers or potential clients, they don’t want some cute little email telling them you still haven’t forgotten about them. They want to feel important to you. They want to know that they are different than any other potential customer you have. That their needs are unique, and that they are unique.
The Narcissist in All of Us
I know that you have read or heard marketing gurus drill over and over that you need to understand your target market. However, I will take this one step further: you need to understand your target market without losing sight of the individual.
Humans are social beings. That is a fact. We like being with other people. We are designed to not be alone, and actually function better when we are supported by others. If you are one of those people who insist that you are better off alone, I will tell you to your face that you are in denial and you need psychological help. Please find a qualified therapist.
But despite the fact that we are social beings, we are also, for the most part, narcissistic. Each person believes he or she is special. We like it when someone recognizes us amongst others for our individuality. While on one level we don’t want to be embarrassed, we do want to others to notice that we are different.
The narcissist in each of us often drives us to success. Narcissism compels us to find ways for others to seek us out for recognition. The narcissist in each of us doesn’t want to be “just another one of the group”. We are innately intolerant of being lumped into the crowd, of being just like everyone else. We are better than that. We deserve better than that. The narcissist wants to be the best person in the group. Don’t make us feel we are just one of many cattle that you herd to the eating trough.
How did this happen?
Do you want the honest answer or do you want the politically correct answer? If you have read any of my writings in the past you know what you are going to get: honesty. So here it is.
Technology has made us lazy professionals. L-A-Z-Y. Think about it. When we didn’t have all this technology at our fingertips, our business was conducted face to face. We took time out of our lives to make sure that each customer felt that he or she was the focus of our intention and the most important person in the room. Enter technology. We hide behind our monitors. We screen our email, talk to who we want, when we want. At the same time, we still want to communicate with others.
True, the consumer has a narcissistic desire to be in control, but they don’t want to be alone. Technology theoretically gives us the ability to stay in touch with people without bothering them. The problem is that now we have crossed a line. It is much easier for us to set up an automated program that sends information to lots of people at once rather than taking the time to send a personalized email, or letter by mail, or to make a phone call. We just send out some pitiful piece of tripe that the originator has probably never fully read himself. By sending out mass emails, you are basically telling your customers “I am not going to take the time to communicate to all of you, so here is the same piece of information I send everyone else. P.S. I care about you!” Do you really expect anyone to believe that? Do you really think that we – as your customers – believe that you care about us? Hell, no! Furthermore, you can take your pre-written, simultaneously sent, skanky email, and shove it up your processor! “Please Remove.” Delete email. The only thing you have accomplished is to tell your clients that they are not important enough to get your personal attention, and that you are too lazy to pick up the phone and let them know you care.
Be part of the solution, not part of the problem: Make sure your current and potential clients have their own places at the head of the table. Find out what your clients really want, and give it to them. This may mean eliminating your email drip campaigns altogether, or you may have to come up with a customized, more personalized solution.
Do not buy an auto drip campaign: If you feel you must have an email drip campaign, then please write it yourself. Don’t outsource the writing of your campaign. If you didn’t write it, it won’t reflect your voice, and more than likely it won’t get you results.
Be more personal and less technological: We are talking about people here. We are not talking about communicating with a machine. Find out what’s important to your customers. Find out what’s going on with them. Find out what makes them tick. Then enter into their world. You will find that you have a returning customer for life. What’s more, you may even make another friend.
People are emotional, so emote: I think the reason women are the best small business owners and dominate the real estate world is because they don’t mind emoting with their clients. They don’t mind listening to them. They want to understand, they better demonstrate that they want to help, and ultimately women are better at convincing clients that they really care. Now, I know there are exceptions. I just wish there were more men who demonstrated these skills.
Take the time: There is no such thing as “making time”. You have to take the time. If these people are really important to you, than “take” the time to make them feel important.
To the Health of your Business!
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Conventional – 1: formed by agreement or compact 2 a: according with, sanctioned by, or based on convention b: lacking originality or individuality : trite c (1): ordinary, commonplace – Merriam Webster Online Dictionary
As you can tell from my last BLOG, I am far from conventional. However, the point of my last article is this, challenge the conventional, make people think, question the gurus. I am not an anarchist, but I don’t want to be like everyone else. One of the most disappointing things to me is that people have a hard time not being conventional. There is some part of us that just wants to “fit in”. However, it’s hard to advance when you look like and like everyone else. There is no defining characteristics, no character, we are just the same. I guess that’s why when it comes to marketing, I want to be different, I want to be unique, I want to challenge my clients and readers, I want to be unconventional.
The Conventional tries to quell the Creative
When we or our marketing becomes conventional it becomes more difficult for us to be more creative, to think outside the box. Very few if any inventions were constructed out of conventional thinking. As a matter of fact most inventors were seen as lunatics, mentally unstable, and in some early historical cases they were forced to recant their thinking and placed under house arrest (see Galileo). Sadly today, with exception of house arrest we commonly feel forced to keep our thoughts to ourselves, and remain conventional.
Conventional Marketing Limits Creative Marketing
Marketing is a funny animal. It’s conventional to rely on what other people say, especially those who are espoused as professionals in the field. I think it is unfortunate that so many marketing professionals say and recommend you do the same things. I call it conventional marketing. Let’s face it, it is easier to put everyone in the same box, then it is to customize and be different. Honestly, it’s also far less expensive. However, as professionals in our own field we are different, we have different strengths, weaknesses, business models, etc. It does not serve in your best business interest to always remain conventional.
Unconventional Marketing is Risky
Whenever you move outside of convention you are always at risk. It can fail. However, all marketing can fail, so I am not convinced of how big of a risk it can be if your current conventional marketing is not working. Let’s be honest, who ever would have thought that 15 years ago that placing an ad on a medium where by people connect with a modem through a computer would have any value. Now try going to a website without an advertisement.
Unconventional Marketing Requires Unconventional Thinking
Most everyone wants to be liked and accepted. The easiest way to do that is agree with everyone around you. However, if your marketing is going to be unconventional you are going to make some people very unhappy. You have to decide for yourself if you can handle that. If you cannot handle negative criticism, you may not want to become unconventional. However, if you can handle the criticism than let me give you some points to consider on your way to unconventional thinking when it comes to marketing.
- Accept nothing as an absolute
- Challenge everything that is assumed to be a fact on the basis of group consensus
- Be outlandish in your thinking
- Consider every idea as a possibility
- There is no box
WARNING: You will tick people off!!!!!
Oh yeah, when you start doing this, being challenging to the group conventions of marketing, you really will piss people off, especially the “marketing professional”. On a personal note, I found that when I challenge conventional marketing concepts, people don’t argue about my thinking they make a personal attack on me. You know what that tells me, they do not have the intellectual competence to argue intelligibly. So it follows if you cannot argue intelligibly how good of a marketing person can you be? However, when you find those who do have the intelligence to argue intelligibly, it forces you to think, and think differently. I have also found the latter group of marketing professionals to be outstanding, and bleeding edge.
Does Unconventional Marketing and Thinking mean you are never wrong?
The idea here is that thinking outside of the box and challenging conventional marketing is never wrong. However, the results of your unconventional marketing techniques may not result in the desired results you had hoped for. In those cases you’re wrong. Then again, what’s wrong with being wrong, outside of the fact that we don’t like to be wrong. Wow! Is that existential? While I do not like being wrong, when I am wrong, I have learned from it, and found another way. Sometimes I take a step backward, but only to take 3 steps forward later.
…and in the end
Try, challenge, and don’t fear others or failure.
Ciao for now,
The hottest marketing term being thrown around today is “target marketing”. People are making tons of money on this term. It is so ill defined, that no one can tell you exactly what it is. How big or how small it is. What the defining parameters are, how to measure it, or how to actually observe it. As business owners please don’t fall into the trap of marketing professionals who tell you, “You are not targeting your market”. Hell they can’t even operationally define it. What’s more, let them try to measure it. Other than that, just ignore me, and spend your money any way you want without measurable results.
What is Target Marketing?
There are many definitions, and I don’t have enough room to put them down here. Technically speaking, target marketing has been closely aligned with terms “niche” marketing, and “market segmentation”. Which are very nice sounding terms however, they lack good scientific vigor with regard to a definition. Honestly, if you jump on the web for a definition for target marketing you will find that the term is so grossly defined that you could drive a battle ship through the holes in the definition.
How is it measured?
It’s impossible, because there is not an operational definition for it. Good luck with spending those marketing dollars.
Can a Target Market be too small?
Well supposedly it can be. However, it really is based more in how much money you are making. If you are only selling to 10 people but they are paying you a million dollars a year, and you are happy with that, then I guess it’s not too small. There are companies that make fabulous money selling personalized private jets to very few people.
Can a Target Market be too large?
Well supposedly it can be. Ha! Don’t you love it, it’s the same answer as above. The definitions of “target marketing” do not define the parameters. However, I read an article where a company target marketed an entire country. Although think about toilet paper companies? Who is their target market? Better yet who is NOT the target market? If I find out who those people are, I will not be shaking hands with them. I guess it’s anybody that doesn’t produce human internal waste. Hmmm. I guess if they don’t produce human waste, I suppose they are dead. So I guess toilet paper companies don’t target dead people.
Is there any value to target marketing?
Well let me save you several hundred dollars on this one. Here are some things you already know but will be told to you in different way.
- Only try to sell your goods or services to people who can afford them.
- Only try to sell goods or services you actually have an expertise at selling.
- Only sell your goods or services in geographical area you actually serve.
- Only try to sell your goods or services to people who actually want or need them.
Are you target marketing on the web?
Well I have a question is your web marketing working? If you respond yes to this question, by definition you are evidently “target marketing”. If you say no, then evidently you are not. Can you see how much B.S. this is? I discussed this with my good friend and colleague Brad Carroll, author and CEO of Dakno Marketing, Inc. We batted target marketing around on IM for a good 30 minutes, when I brought up the definition of “target marketing” of as “if your marketing is working you are target marketing, if it isn’t your not target marketing”. He gave me a “smiley” and simply said, “yeah”.
What came first the Success or the Target Marketing?
Talk to the Chicken or the Egg.
What is the answer?
First of all, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I do know that I have been quite successful with clients businesses on the web, and I don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about target marketing. Although Brad says I am, I just don’t know it. I am not sure he knows for sure, because we can’t even define the darn thing clear enough to know if you are doing it or not. However, I do know a few things that I have found to be very effective through trial and error.
- Don’t be something online that you are not in person.
- Don’t work with people that you don’t like working with and make sure there is not something on your website that is attracting them.
- Figure out who you want to work with, understand them as completely as you can psychologically and focus your content to that group.
- Don’t be afraid to try something way outside of the box.
- Know how people behave on the web (My next post will focus on this topic)
If you can do these 5 things don’t worry about nebulous terms like “target marketing”.
Ciao for now.
I pretty much say what is ever on my mind. That’s nothing unusual, but today, quite frankly I am hoping that some of you will pay attention. I have had enough of the ignorance that I see everyday on websites and people who have no business discussing how consumers use the web. So I am going to try again, to get people to understand some of the missing links in Web Marketing.
Having your website found is not enough; the idea is to get people to use your website.
Pay Per Click may increase your activity, but that doesn’t mean that anybody will actually use your website. Your goal is to get people to use your website not to have them just find it. I am so tired of the ignorance of people who insist that if you pay to be number one in the search engines people will do business with you. The facts are this, paying to be number one doesn’t mean anything, if you don’t have information people want. You are lying to yourself if you believe it’s true. You should know your statistics inside and out, and check them regularly. You need to be able to interpret those stats, or hire someone that can. You need to probably have someone who has insight not into your web design, but the information your website has. You need to be working towards the goal that you know what your intended consumer wants and get them the information quickly and in a way that is easy to find and understand.
Looks aren’t everything.
People please I am begging you, don’t spend most of your time on your website look and spend more of your time on information. The search engines don’t care if you have flash, cute pictures, etc. The search engines care if you have the information people are looking for when they type in a request. Give them that information. Ugly websites can do great business because the focus on the right things. Besides the search engines don’t care what your website looks like, they are only interested if you give the people what they want. If you have a ton of graphics, flash, and other cute widgets moving around, consumers find it distracting and will click off your page because they get irritated by the distraction.
Don’t assume you know your consumer.
This is the biggest mistake business people make. They think they know their consumer best. Quite honestly you don’t, because you are standing in the middle of the forest looking at the trees, you really can’t see it clearly. You really need someone to walk you through the painstaking task of really figuring out who your consumer is, what it is they are really looking for, and what they really want and need.
Privacy is a bigger issue today than ever before, always thinks about it.
In today’s world identity theft happens according to one report every 30 seconds. Although you would never steal someone’s identity, make sure your website doesn’t require name sign-ups for information that is otherwise free, and when people do give you their personal information, make sure that you ensure that their privacy is important to you as it is to them.
Develop Web Relationship.
I think I may be one of a handful of people who even talk about developing relationships with people through your website. The idea is to let your website do your talking for you. When you meet a person face to face you engage them, you speak their language, and you build a relationship. All of those things must come through on your website. There is a reason why places like myspace.com, facebook.com, and other community sites are so popular, because on some level they develop relationships. Whether you like it or not, it is your future.
Address the fears associated with your business or service.
People don’t understand why I say this, but it is so powerful. Whenever people hire a business or a service there are potential negatives and fears that are associated with completing the process. You need to address these fears, there is nothing more powerful than to acknowledge the fears of someone, and then empower them to overcome them. This is what removes the fear, removes the shame from the fear, and the guilt of the person not knowing how to deal with them.
That’s another prescription for your internet health.